Thursday, April 16, 2009

‘He left a deep impression’


Leong Wee Keat

I found him to be very forthright, sympathetic and considerate.
Mr Lim Boon Heng,
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office

Not just a decent person, but a business leader who ... did not forget that people are the key asset of an organisation.
NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say

He’s a foreigner but was thinking very hard of Singapore’s interest.
Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam

THEY met for the first time just days after DBS’ retrenchment of 900 workers was publicly criticised by the union chief last November.

Mr Richard Stanley (picture), the bank’s chief executive, initiated the meeting with National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Lim Swee Say to discuss the layoffs.

After a “frank and open discussion” — in which both sides agreed they could not “turn back the clock” — the bank’s management and its staff union agreed to put the past behind them and committed to working closely together, said Mr Lim.

“He left behind a very deep impression,” said Mr Lim, who is also the adviser to the DBS Staff Union. “Not just a decent person, but a business leader who knew what is needed to thrive, to prosper in this competitive world, while at the same time not forgetting that people are the key asset of an organisation.”

After that meeting last November, Mr Stanley spared no effort in reaching out to the unions and workers. He attended a DBS Staff Union executive committee meeting and was peppered with questions, recalled staff union president Nora Kang. But he told her to call him “whenever they had meetings”.

Mr Stanley also joined the union for their Family Day celebrations and shared his plans for DBS with the 500 members who had gathered. His moves were “reassuring” to the union, said Ms Kang. “Even though he may be new to the labour movement, Mr Stanley was eager to know us, and treated us as business leaders,” she said.

Calling the progress “tremendous”, Mr Lim said: “The relationship between the management and union was progressing really well. But unfortunately, we could not continue the journey.”

Mr Stanley, 48, died on Saturday morning after a short battle with leukaemia. He had been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukaemia in late January and until last week, he had been responding well to treatment.

After two rounds of chemotherapy, his doctors believed that his cancer was in remission. But his weakened immune system made him susceptible to infection, said DBS. His condition rapidly deteriorated over the last 48 hours to Saturday and he succumbed to the infection.

Yesterday, a steady stream of colleagues, friends and family members paid their last respects to a man many had known simply as “Rich”.

Ms Debbie Lau, who works in the bank’s legal department, remembers Mr Stanley as always being calm and approachable. “Even in the worst of times, he never lost his temper,” she said.

Among those who held him in high regard was Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who paid his respects last night.
Mr Shanmugaratnam said Mr Stanley provided feedback when the Government was devising measures for this year’s Budget, such as the Special Risk-Sharing Initiative to ensure that viable companies continue to have access to credit and keep jobs.

“Never for a moment was he looking from a single bank perspective, or from the DBS perspective,” he said.

“He was always thinking of what made sense for the country and what would help the firms ride out the crisis. I had the sense that he was sincere in really wanting to help.

“He’s a foreigner but he was thinking very hard of Singapore’s interest. And when we finally put together the plan, he was committed to want to make it work,” he added.

All DBS staff will observe one minute of silence at 2.45pm today. The cortege, carrying Mr Stanley’s body will make its way past DBS Building at Shenton Way for staff to pay their last respects, before proceeding to Church of St Teresa for the funeral service.

From TODAY, News – Monday, 13-April-2009


Post a Comment